Barack Obama

Some Don’t See Blessing in Trump’s Protecting Religious Liberty

Deal W. Hudson
May 17, 2017

Some conservatives were less than pleased by President Trump’s May 4 executive order on religious liberty. I guess they didn’t read it very closely. Had they done so, they would have realized that it was a promise of welcome changes to come. It doesn’t declare any new rights, but it does direct the administration to amend regulations and issue guidelines to protect the free exercise of religion from the power of the federal government. After what had seemed like a war on religion under Obama, that’s an enormous sea change.

Still, the executive order didn’t satisfy “Never-Trumpets” such as Princeton’s professor Robert George and Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation — who have always been quick to attack the president. They announced that it was “meaningless” and “woefully inadequate.”

Shamefully, George pointed the finger at the President’s Jewish daughter and son-in-law, “Ivanka and Jared won. We lost.” Such acrimony from a leading Catholic figure, and former Chair of the United States Commission on Religious Liberty, is both unjust and unbecoming.

Now let’s look at the record. President Trump has repeatedly declared his intention to remove the 1954 Johnson Amendment, which dramatically limited the political participation of houses of worship along with their priests, pastors, and rabbis.

As a first step towards that end, the executive order specifically instructs the Department of Treasury “not to take any adverse action against any individual, house of worship, or other religious organization on the basis that such individual or organization speaks or has spoken about moral or political issues.  . . . ” We can expect Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to make sure that happens.

President Trump’s order also contains specific language on the ongoing litigation regarding the impact of Obamacare on Little Sisters of the Poor and other institutions refusing to provide contraceptive healthcare coverage to their employees. Trump ordered the Departments of Treasury, Labor (DOL), and Health and Human Services (HHS) to, “consider issuing amended regulations, consistent with applicable law, to address conscience-based objections to the preventive care mandate.  . . . ” There can be no doubt that HHS Secretary Tom Price will be doing just that — and vigorously.

What is likely the most important section of the executive order is addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, “In order to guide all agencies in complying with relevant Federal law, the Attorney General shall, as appropriate, issue guidance interpreting religious liberty protections in Federal law.” As head of the Department of Justice, which is still pursuing the case against Little Sisters of the Poor, Sessions has been effectively charged with realizing the promises made in the Rose Garden on May 4.

Given his conservative, pro-life record as an Alabama senator, no one doubts how Jeff Sessions will shape the Department of Justice. Session’s leadership is surely one of the reasons civil rights groups immediately announced their intention to oppose the executive order.

Not surprisingly, a group of atheists, under the banner of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, filed suit against the president and the IRS, fearing the IRS would “selectively and preferentially discontinue enforcement of the electioneering restrictions of the tax code against churches and religious organizations, while applying a more vigorous enforcement standard to secular nonprofits.”

The notion that the IRS would apply more “vigorous” standards to secular nonprofit organizations is of course bizarre. But again, much of the daily media bombardment of the Trump administration contains allegations based upon hearsay, leaks, unnamed sources, and postmodern paranoia. Today the progressive left has bought into the idea that freedom requires that all their opponents be silenced, even when they are exercising their sincere religious beliefs.

Sister Loraine Marie Claire Maguire, Mother Provincial of Little Sisters of the Poor has figured it out. Her statement was forthright and unqualified, “Today’s action by the government confirms that the government never needed to create this false conflict between women and religion.” One can imagine a smile coming to her face when she added, “The government never needed the Little Sisters of the Poor to provide these services,” that is, hand out contraception.

President Trump has been accused of making a media event out of his statement on religious liberty.

These critics should be asked: What is wrong with the president of the United States calling two of the Little Sisters of the Poor to the podium in the Rose Garden? How often have we seen a religious order of the Catholic Church featured in a nationally televised White House ceremony?

The image of President Trump, with a beaming Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. standing behind, welcoming the two sisters is a powerful affirmation to the nation’s 70 million Catholic citizens that they’re fully members of the American community.

You’ve have thought that that was pretty obvious. But apparently some people needed reminding.

Read Newsmax: Some Don’t See Blessing in Trump’s Protecting Religious Liberty | Newsmax.com
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Some on Left, Right Don’t Get Trump Is Anti-Abortion

Deal W. Hudson
April 5, 2017

President Donald Trump’s executive order to defund the United National Family Planning Agency (UNFPA) sends a message to political foes both on the political left and the right.

The pro-abortion left will should not be too surprised since President Trump has already cut $400,000,000 in population control funds when he reaffirmed the Mexico City Policy a few days after his inauguration.

Anti-abortion leaders across the country are deeply gratified and congratulate the president for his decision.President of the Susan B. Anthony List, Marjorie Dannenfelser, calls the defunding, “a tremendous sign to the nation and world about what we value and what we abhor. Removing funds from involvement in China’s coercive abortion and sterilization policies is the humane thing to do.”

Trump’s decision to defund was made on the same basis used by both President Reagan and President George W. Bush: UNFPA actively “partners on family planning activities with the Chinese government agency responsible for these coercive policies.” It’s well known that China employs coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization to enforce its “One Child Policy.”

The One Child Policy, begun in 1979, was “officially” phased out in 2015, to be replaced by a “Two Child Policy.” But as the nation’s preeminent expert of China’s population control, Steve Mosher, has said, “The one-child policy in China may be over, but the two-child policy will still mean forced abortions of second and third children, it may mean forced pregnancy in years to come, and it will certainly mean other abuses.”

Asked for his comment, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., responded, “The United Nations Population Fund has been involved with deeply troubling practices. Why would we give American taxpayer money to an organization with limited accountability, who have used these funds to participate in coerced abortion and involuntary sterilization? Public money should never harm life and the flourishing of families.”

UNFPA funding approaches $1,000,000,000 so the loss of U.S. funding — $32,500,000 will have only a marginal impact, but combined with the money lost by the Mexico City Policy population controllers have suffered a serious setback.

With the defunding of Planned Parenthood’s $500,000,000+ already moving through Congress, there must be panic setting in among those organizations whose budgets blossomed under the terms of the Obama administration. That will eventually add up to over 1 billion dollars in lost revenue to the abortionists.

In the lost of UNFPA funding, however, there is another loss — public credibility.

With federal funding comes prestige, a prestige that opens doors to private foundations and major donors. These foundations and donors themselves can profit from being connected to an organization who enjoys a close relationship to the White House and Congress.

Austin Ruse, President of C-Fam, regards UNFPA defunding as an important step toward President Trump keeping his promises to his pro-life constituency, “This is a very good thing because UNFPA is a wicked agency and the US should not be involved with it.

“However, defunding UNFPA is a bare-minimum of the pro-life things we expect from President Trump. It is an easy thing, an important thing, but an easy thing. We expect more and bigger things.”

The UNFPA, on the other hand, regards the decision as based upon “an erroneous claim” that the organization “participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization in China.”

This is hard to swallow, given the evidence, but the more incriminating part of the statement is this, “We have always valued the United States as a trusted partner and leader in helping to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.” (Emphasis added).

First, a “young person” who is aborted will never have the opportunity to fulfill any potential. Second, the UNFPA does not have the power — no one does, to “ensure every pregnancy is wanted.”

What UNFPA really means is that they will supply abortions to all women who do not “want” their babies. Finally, making childbirth “safe” merely provides another excuse for UNFPA to provide abortion to women who live in poverty or in the undeveloped countries.

This press release serves to corroborate the decision made by President Trump about the character and intentions of the UNFPA.

To the Never-Trumpers on the right, such as the neo-cons at the National Review, anti-abortion fundamentalists, and those marching under the flag of surrender represented by the “Benedict Option” — President Trump has once again proven his bona fides as being anti-abortion.

However, the Never-Trump crowd all share one regrettable characteristic: they are not interested in counter-evidence, it’s an affront to their pride.

To their shame, they will ignore the half-billion dollars in federal funding President Trump has taken away from those who pro-abortion, marching under the banner of population control.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had not yet issued a statement when I contacted them yesterday, but I received a note that a statement would be issued today. Given that the USCCB has been consistently critical of the Trump administration, I was not surprised in the delay.

Read Newsmax: Some on Left, Right Don’t Get Trump Is Anti-Abortion | Newsmax.com
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